What is the BBC NHS Tracker?
Last year, the BBC has launched an online NHS Tracker which shows how local services are performing on three key waiting time targets:
• Four-hour A&E waits
• 62-day cancer care
• Planned operations and treatment
This data is currently published either monthly or quarterly depending on where you live in the UK, and there are differences between how the targets are measured in each part of the UK.
The project will continue for only a year but there have been some interesting discoveries.
The main findings by the BBC are:
Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust came out top
Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust was the only local hospital service in the entire UK to achieve all 3 key targets throughout the year. The next best hospital for targets trailed some way behind having missed a fifth of the same targets.
As a region, the North East is the best
Six of the top 12 performing hospital services in England over the past year are clustered around the North East. They include South Tyneside, Gateshead and North Tees/Hartlepool, which were ranked second, third and fourth behind Luton.
Northern Ireland has been moving the goalposts
Targets started to be introduced across the NHS in the early years of the 21st Century. There has been an odd bit of tinkering since, for example both England and Scotland started off expecting 98% of patients to be seen in four hours but have subsequently reduced this target to 95%.
But nowhere has chopped and changed as much as Northern Ireland when it comes to planned operations and care. It has a 13-week target from the point at which a decision is made to admit a patient to the start of treatment.
Comparisons are difficult
It is very hard to compare the performance of each of the four UK nations. As the targets are measured differently, it is hard to say which is doing best and worst.
Some doubt the targets will ever be met
Performance has now dropped so far against the targets that a number of hospital bosses voiced concern over whether they could realistically meet them on a consistent basis. There is a growing number of trusts that have not hit targets for over five years.
Click HERE to read more about the BBC findings.
Find out how your local services have performed – click here to use the BBC NHS Tracker